Filed under maritime history

The Horniman Museum

The Horniman Museum

This is a wonderful venue in the far south of London which is home to the collections of a single man, so provides us with not just an incredible amount of items, from stuffed animals to cultural artefacts, to music instruments, and a room full of international curiosities, a dinosaur room and a small aquarium. … Continue reading

Mermaid Search

This is from The Observer of August 1812: “Mr J. Toupin, while on a sailing expedition last week, with a party of ladies and gentlemen, about a mile from Exmouth Bay, discovered n the water an animal resembling the description given of he Mermaid. One of the boatmen threw it some pieces of boiled fish, … Continue reading

Nelson’s Godson

This is from News from the English Countryside, from the Lancaster Gazette of 1805: As Colonel Tyrwhitt, Vice Warden of he Stannaries, Cornwall and Devon, was, with other gentlemen, looking through his telescope at the French prizes going up the harbour, he observed a fine little boy of an open countenance, cheering with his playfellows, … Continue reading

Captives Returned

Most people know about the Pirates of various nationality in the Caribbean, but few know of the many sailors captured by North African ships, attacking places like Cornwall, and the Bristol channel hunting merchants coming to the annual fairs. They even ¬†took the whole town of Baltimore in Ireland. Sailors were held for ransom, or … Continue reading

Slaves in Marseilles

This is another snippet from Thomas Platter’s Travels of 599. Before this young physician reached England he trained at several places in France and his home of Switzerland. He was fascinated by the slaves in Marseilles: “They were fed on biscuit, a sort of hard thin bread of dirty corn, that had to be dipped … Continue reading

Admiral Collingwood’s Table

Collingwood was one of the most unfortunate of Britain’s naval heroes, but perhaps it links with his diet. How many of his men would want to dine with him and discuss tactics? This is from Cecil Storr’s Small Talk at Wreyland: ‘Collingwood ate rats. He said ships’ rats were very clean eaters, and he always … Continue reading